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Old 09-17-2012, 10:04 PM   #1
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Deck Beam rotating/cracking? See Pictures


Hello:

New here; getting a little panicky about something and the hubby has had enough of me so I'm hoping I can get some answers from the forum.

We just had a second story deck built on our house this summer (we're in the San Francisco Bay Area) -- 10' x 15'. The beams/joists are Doug Fir and the decking is redwood.

Aaaannnddd... I've been noticing that the main support joist is rotating and cracking.

Looking back at photos taken during the project, I can see now that there was at least a slight crack/rotation in the beam when it went up. Not sure whether it's gotten worse or was fully already this way. The deck feels very sound, has new concrete beneath it, and our contractor bolted the hell out of it (pics attached).

However -- I'm a worrywort. It looks a little scary to me. Am I crazy? Is this thing gonna flip over and come crashing down, or is this just the wood getting comfortable, and we have to live with it looking a little wonky?

Thanks, folks (actually, my husband thanks you the most, as he's the one who has to live with me and he thinks it's not going anywhere).
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Deck Beam rotating/cracking? See Pictures-photo-1.jpg   Deck Beam rotating/cracking? See Pictures-photo-2.jpg   Deck Beam rotating/cracking? See Pictures-photo-3.jpg  

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Old 09-17-2012, 10:28 PM   #2
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Deck Beam rotating/cracking? See Pictures


Personally I hate those butt ugly post/beam connectors. I always notch my post so the beam sits on solid wood then I bolt it through. Having said that, it looks like wood acting like wood. Nothing to worry about from what I can see.

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Old 09-17-2012, 10:45 PM   #3
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Well, that makes me feel better already. Thanks! Must be the project manager in me that can't stop willing it to be straight, though. Damnit.
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Old 09-18-2012, 07:55 AM   #4
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Deck Beam rotating/cracking? See Pictures


I'm no pro but it looks like the beam connector to the post has 3/8" or so holes in it not being used; perhaps they are for bolts?
What secures the floor joists to the top of the beam?
I assume you are in an earthquake zone and you had this permitted and inspected?
Doesn't look right to me somehow but I don't do this stuff for a living.
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Old 09-18-2012, 08:03 AM   #5
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Deck Beam rotating/cracking? See Pictures


in the top photo it appears that the floor joists are cantilevered past the drop beam. if this is correct there should be a rim joist at the ends of the floor joist. this member is perpendicular to the floor joist. the purpose of this is to prevent rotation/leaning of the floor joists.

how are the joists connected back at the house? are there metal hangers?

this link will provide you the American Wood Council's "Prescriptive Residential Wood Deck Construction Guide." This is based upon the requirements of the 2009 International Residential Code, which is the basis for California's Residential Code. http://www.awc.org/publications/DCA/DCA6/DCA6-09.pdf

This is NOT the only way to design or build decks. This should provide you more information and hopefully ease your fears, or provide you with justification for them.

Post back with any questions.
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Old 09-18-2012, 08:12 AM   #6
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Deck Beam rotating/cracking? See Pictures


Your contractor screwed up a few other things... There is no outside rim, the railing posts are notched (they should not be), and the joists need to be connected to the beam in a solid way. The beam is of a little concern, the crack is fairly large, not enough to really worry but something I would keep an eye on. HOWEVER seeing the glaring issues with a couple other things makes me question everything including can the beam span the distance that it does.
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Old 09-18-2012, 08:17 AM   #7
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you're spot on Robert .....
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Old 09-18-2012, 08:25 AM   #8
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From his signature, robertcdf knows a lot more than I do about building decks but from a weekend worrier that has built a few decks in his time, I had the same concerns. You may want to give the whole thing a good once over.
From the pictures I can see that it needs a rim joist for sure. I would have doubled up that beam too. I would also be concerned about how those joists are attached to the ledger plate on the house as well, look for joist hangers.
It is all stuff that can be fixed and if you do so you will have piece of mind.
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Old 09-18-2012, 09:10 AM   #9
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Deck Beam rotating/cracking? See Pictures


At least the contractor installed blocking between joists (right above the beam).

Maybe it was done for aesthetics (not that I am condoning it)?

BTW, I think that crack is beyond checking. Can you check the deck post (6x6) to make sure it is plumb (vertical)? I hope its not your footing shifting away from the house, creating undue stress on that beam.

Did you get a permit? If yes, was it approved?

I don't know what kind of contract you signed but I would ask him to come back and fix the glaring issues others have mentioned

Last edited by allthumbsdiy; 09-18-2012 at 09:14 AM.
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Old 09-18-2012, 09:30 AM   #10
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Deck Beam rotating/cracking? See Pictures


Well, no longer feeling better.

The joists are definitely connected to the ledger with hangers, so does that make this slightly less worrisome?

But it sounds like a rim joist is the big missing ingredient here. And I am not sure how the joists are attached to the cracked beam as I'd have to get up on a ladder to see.

This baby WAS done with a permit and passed inspection (we're in earthquake country) -- how does that happen?
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Old 09-18-2012, 09:33 AM   #11
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Deck Beam rotating/cracking? See Pictures


And yeah -- the posts are plumb and on new concrete poured for this deck. Also inspected by the city. I am confident nothing is moving and I think the beam went up cracked (at least a little) -- could it possibly just be checking in place?
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Old 09-18-2012, 09:37 AM   #12
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Deck Beam rotating/cracking? See Pictures


That never would have passed an inspection in my area.
That beam sitting on the post would have had to have been let in on the sides of the beam and doubled up. or if it was sitting on top of the post it would have to be double up.
There would have to be a rim joist on the end of those floor joist to stop the joist from twisting.
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Old 09-18-2012, 09:39 AM   #13
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I am guessing Alameda county just sucks, as the neighbor's deck is identically constructed.
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Old 09-18-2012, 09:40 AM   #14
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Deck Beam rotating/cracking? See Pictures


Quote:
Originally Posted by robertcdf View Post
Your contractor screwed up a few other things... There is no outside rim, the railing posts are notched (they should not be), and the joists need to be connected to the beam in a solid way. The beam is of a little concern, the crack is fairly large, not enough to really worry but something I would keep an eye on. HOWEVER seeing the glaring issues with a couple other things makes me question everything including can the beam span the distance that it does.

^ THIS ^

Not a properly built deck on many levels (areas). For one thing, I would not even call that thing a "beam".
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Old 09-18-2012, 09:45 AM   #15
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Deck Beam rotating/cracking? See Pictures


Well, happy Tuesday. Luckily we have a good relationship with this guy so I can get his butt back out here to reinforce this. I kinda want a refund on my building permit, though. Somehow I doubt that will happen.

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